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Dry Erase Markers Could Be Hazardous To Your Hotel Stay

October 5, 2012 at 9:01 AM | by | ()

Back in July, we wrote about how a certain Cody Brocious had figured out a way to pick the locks on any hotel room door manufactured by Onity. And since Onity has installed somewhere between four and five million hotel room doors all over the world, that was kind of worrying.

Now, Brocious' idea has been taken one step further by another dastardly hacker, this time by the name of Matthew Jakubowski. NBCNews reports that Jakubowski has managed to fit all the parts of the lock-picking device into a single dry erase marker.

What's more, he went and posted a YouTube video to show the marker in action, and even wrote out instructions on his blog, giving everyone and their mothers the means to assemble a lock-picking dry erase marker of their very own.

This is just kind of scary on multiple levels, the least being that dry erase markers are one of the most ordinary, non-suspicious objects we can think of. Anyone walking around a hotel corridor with a screwdriver and a circuit board is likely to raise a few red flags, but a dry erase marker? Who would stop to question someone on the grounds that their writing utensil 'looks funny.' Um, nobody.

Another tech blog, ExtremeTech, sums up the frightening simplicity of the dry erase marker device:

"By any reasonable standard, Brocious didn’t “hack” the locks at all. He built a digital parrot that could read an unencrypted code and transmit it back to the door. [With Jakubowski's design,] nothing comes out of the marker, the tip looks normal, and there’s no wire. Touch the tip of the marker to the door port, and voila, it unlocks."

Lock your doors, hotel geeks, and don't even think of removing the deadbolt until room service arrives and you can smell the bacon wafting through the door!

[Photo: HotelChatter; inset, Matthew Jakubowski]

Archived Comments:


I guess not all safety devices in the hotels are easy to hack.

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